This study described the epidemiology of serious mental illness in the adult household population.
Data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey of 23,393 adult respondents were used. Serious mental illness was defined when respondents reported that a health professional had told them that they had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, mania, or psychosis. Sociodemographic and health characteristics, health care utilization, and participation in government assistance programs among adults with and without serious mental illness were compared.
Over 2% of adults reported having received a diagnosis of serious mental illness. Thirty-five percent of adults with serious mental illness had a history of homelessness or of having been in jail. Fewer than two-thirds of adults with serious mental illness had seen a mental health professional in the past year.
Adults with serious mental illness were socially disadvantaged and had worse health compared with adults without serious mental illness.